“See, first of all, I didn’t know how to manage relationships. I didn’t have any relationship to look to or learn from. I wasn’t taught in school how to manage relationships or handle sexual relations. As a society, we choose to be embarrassed about the very thing that we spring out from. The sad thing is that as teenagers, we go through the same concerns that our youths have – when should I have sex, should I have sex, what should I do if my partner wants sex, how should I insist on condom use if my partner doesn’t want to use a condom, and so on. As teenagers, we think about these things but when we become parents, we choose to forget about these and we choose to allow our youths to be put in harm’s way because we have issues dealing with our own beliefs about sex. We become selfish. We think we have to conform to certain norms – society says we cannot talk about sex and we shouldn’t. My religion says I should not encourage discussion about sex and even if I know that in my youth, I would need information on sexuality issues, I will deny the right of youths to have that because my religion says so. We think we know better, but truth is, we have become influenced by others and we speak what others speak, and what authority speaks because we want to belong and be part of a group. We are scared of being different, sidelined – to become an outcast. And then we start discriminating. Against other ethnicities nationalities, the elderly etc. It becomes a chronic societal issue.
Why am I sharing this story with you, my fellow Singaporeans. I am gay but being gay doesn’t define me. Being gay is only one aspect of me which I am proud of, yes, but it is not something that makes me who I am. It is definitely something that has enriched me. I had to learn to understand why people choose to look at me differently and sometimes, judge me. I had to learn to understand why people are not able to accept me and the attitudes they hold. It has made me more introspective and more aware, not only of myself, but of others as well, and for the better. I’ve learnt that people judge because they do not know. They see a gay person and that’s all they see. But is it any fault of theirs? Humans process information according to how much they can contain – To understand that a gay person has different aspects of his/her life takes time and most people simply think it’s easier to judge a person as being gay than to understand the person as a whole. And this is why I have decided to share this story. I am like the friend you have, your classmate, neighbour or a family member. And I am gay. Are our lives any different? No. But I am gay, and because of that, you might have certain judgments because you think you should have them, because that’s what others say you should have. I am giving us an opportunity to understand me better.”